Thursday, April 27, 2017

Idaho Pasture Pigs Moved Onto Grass

When we have a sow get close to farrowing, we move her into the barn so that she can have the luxury of a heat lamp and protection from the elements.  There's a small fenced area where the pigs can go outside, but it's definitely not pasture.  When spring comes, we finally get to move them outside so they can enjoy the wonder of being on real grass.  

First, we moved William, our boar, into his own pasture.  He'll stay there until the next time we decide to breed again.  He's an electric fence away from the girls, so he gets their company without us worrying about a mis-timed litter.  

Then we tried to quickly move Marmalade.  Yes, she got loose.  She ran around the yard.  Being a few hundred pounds and not getting much exercise made it fairly easy to keep her from running off -   but it didn't make it any easier to herd her!  Finally we were able, using a board to pat her on the rump and direct her, to move her into her new pasture.  When she finally figured it out she seemed soooooo relieved!

She was happy to meet up with her mother, Flower.  

Then we had a piglet rodeo in the barn.  We put some food in their bowl and tried to grab them.  Of course, once they knew we were trying to catch them they started running away as fast as they could. But finally, after a few bumps and bruises on our part (those little hooves are sharp!) we were able to take them out and drop them in the pasture with mom.  They loved it!  We put a few little piles of feed around and they ate those while they figured out the parameters of their new world.  

At feeding time, the little devils tried to come through the electric fence to get to the food.  A quick zap on the head made them decide that they didn't want to do that!

Later, we saw mom and piglets grazing.  This is why we raise Idaho Pasture Pigs.  They eat the grass instead of rooting it up.  You'll notice, in the video below, some bare areas in the pasture.  That's the high traffic areas.  Look at that lush grass!

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